What is Driver Training?
A driving course designed to teach and enhance high speed driving skill and technique on an actual racecourse.
- Classroom sessions
- On-track ‘exercises’
- Plus supervised lapping sessions.
Driver Training is a pre-requisite for any PCA Driver Education participation, At Nord Stern, Driver Training includes both Novice and Intermediate level options. Send an email to the DT Chair for additional options.
You do not have to own a Porsche to participate and, in fact, you don’t even have to drive a Porsche. It doesn’t matter if you bring your high-performance street car to the track or your family sedan. Nord Stern’s pool of experienced instructors will provide drivers with instruction on how to drive the optimal line on a race track and provide you with basic car control skills that will make you a better and safer driver on the street or freeways.
When and Where
The Club offers two DT schools each year; one in the spring (April) and another in the fall (late September or early October). These are a full day of on-track with a dedicated instructor in the passenger seat and backed with interactive classroom discussions and instruction. Driving Training is held the Friday before the Driver Education track weekend.
Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) is Nord Stern’s “home” track. The school operates rain or shine although in inclement weather we use the infield’s Competition road course, otherwise it’s the 3.1-mile Donnybrooke course with the longest straight in North America (5200 ft).
What to Expect
Registration opens at 7 AM on Friday morning. The mandatory driver meeting with introductions and instructor pairing starts at 8 o’clock. Following the morning meeting students and their instructors take a few laps around the track to get a visual reference of what’s to come in the afternoon. The rest of the morning has students running through a threshold braking exercise and slalom course. Both are intended to familiar students with the handling of their vehicle under conditions not normally experienced in street driving. Instructors are sitting right there in the passenger seat providing real-time guidance and encouragement.
Friday afternoon is spent alternating between lapping the track – again with your assigned instructor in the right seat – and classroom instruction on the concept of the turn apex, late braking, proper shifting, and the optimal high-performance driving lines.
At the end of the day you’ll most likely feel somewhat humbled, but invigorated and maybe downright giddy. Student graduation includes a certificate of completion that can be used with other PCA regional track days.
NOTE: Nord Stern Driver Training and Driver Education events are not racing nor any form of competition. There are plenty of other organizations and venues – including PCA Club Racing – if you wish to drive competitively.
So you decided to join us at the track? Here are a few things that you are accountable for before you arrive at the track:
- Have your car inspected by a qualified mechanic. Specific items can be reviewed and Nord Stern’s Tech Form can be downloaded from here.
- You’ll need a helmet. If you’re not sure about continuing to attend track events you can rent a helmet from one of Nord Stern’s advertisers. This is a better plan than borrowing an old motorcycle helmet that doesn’t fit properly. If you want to go out and purchase a helmet, we recommend a SA Snell certified auto racing helmet. These are quite different than a motorcycle (DoT) helmet and for good reasons. Regardless of whether you rent, borrow, or buy a helmet it needs to have a current rating of 2015 or newer. If you’re uncertain, feel free to ask.
NOTE: COVID-related supply chain disruptions have limited availability of Snell 2020 Rated helmets. Nord Stern does not want to force participants to compromise on such an important piece of safety equipment. We have therefore decided to continue allowing 2010 helmets through the end of 2021. As supplies improve, we do encourage those of you with 2010 helmets to replace them without waiting for the hard cutoff at the beginning of 2022.
- Clean out the car. It’s not uncommon for instructors to report about garage door openers falling from visors, errant pop cans rolling out from under seats, or stuff ratting around in the trunk. Everything needs to be stowed safely; you don’t want to find something getting stuck under the pedals! Feel free to bring what you need and store it by the car at the track. The Club hasn’t ever had a problem with theft.
- While there is a good lunch venue at the track and plenty of places in and around the Baxter/Brainerd area, it’s a good idea to bring a snack, fruit, and plenty of water.
- Try to wind down business activities for the day. Driving on the track is an intense activity and you’ll want a clear mind.
The Friday Driving Training program starts early in the morning so we do recommend that you stay in the area the night before. It’s tough to drive from the Twin Cities in the early morning hours of Friday and expect to drive hard all day at the track. And if you intend to drive home Friday evening after graduation it’s downright brutal. Area lodging options can be found on the Brainerd Lakes Vacationland website.
Our Driver Training schools tend to fill up quickly so it’s best to register early. You do so at www.ClubRegistration.net. You’ll need to create an account if you don’t have one, but don’t worry, it’s free. Use the guide if you have trouble finding the Nord Stern DT program; it’s classified as a Performance Driving School by ClubRegistration. You can also contact the Registrar by email if you need assistance with the registration process.
The Registrar will start confirming registrations about 30 days prior to the event (if not sooner). The confirmation notice will include a temporary car number assignment that needs to be applied to the registered vehicle. Numbers can be applied using window paint or painters tape. They need to be applied on both sides of the car and either on the front hood or on the upper corner of the windshield of the passenger side of the car.
You can register for the Friday-only school or bundle the school with the Driver Education weekend (Saturday and Sunday) event; a great value over the individual events.